Cheat sheet: Top things to know about USGBC and GBCI in 2017

Nora Knox

At USGBC, we know the marketplace is changing fast. In the past few years, the green business and sustainability industries have grown dramatically, and it seems that we are frequently adding new certification and credentialing opportunities to our efforts. We also know that it can be hard to keep up. So, here’s a cheat sheet to help you understand the reach of our efforts in 2017.


LEED certification is our internationally recognized leadership standard for green buildings. Buildings can become certified through a variety of rating systems that were created for difference building types. LEED-certified buildings save money by using less energy and water, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and offer a healthier indoor environment for occupants, which in turn reduces sick days and increases productivity.

The green building industry is on track to account for more than 3.3 million U.S. jobs—more than one-third of the entire U.S. construction sector—and to generate $190.3 billion in labor earnings by 2018.

Our LEED credentials demonstrate professional knowledge and leadership for people who are active in sustainability and green building. LEED professional credentials place you a step ahead of the competition. They emphasize your value to environmentally focused organizations and LEED project teams, putting you in a prime position for whatever role you’ve set your sights on.

USGBC offers two types of credentials: the LEED Green Associate credential and the LEED AP with specialty credentials. Individuals can access exam prep and credential maintenance courses online at Education @USGBC.

Green business opportunities

GBCI is the premier organization independently recognizing global excellence in green business industry performance and practice through the administration of project certifications, professional credentials and certificates. GBCI and USGBC have a number of offerings that reach further for greater impact.

  • Arc is a state-of-the-art digital platform that will allow any project—whether a single building, a community or an entire city—to measure improvements and benchmark against itself and projects around it.
  • The Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) is a program that offers a systematic, comprehensive rating system designed to define sustainable sites, measure their performance and, ultimately, elevate the value of landscapes.
  • PEER, or Performance Excellence in Energy Renewal, is a comprehensive, consumer-centric, data-driven system for evaluating power system performance.
  • The WELL Building Standard is an evidence-based standard that sets performance requirements in seven categories: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.
  • EDGE is a green building certification system for new residential and commercial buildings that enables design teams and project owners to assess the most cost-effective ways to incorporate energy- and water-saving options into their buildings.
  • GRESB is an investor-driven organization that is transforming the way we assess Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance of real assets globally, including real estate portfolios and infrastructure assets.
  • Parksmart, formerly known as Green Garage Certification, is the world’s only rating system that defines, measures and recognizes high-performing, sustainable garages.
  • Zero Waste certification is a program for businesses to assess performance in reducing waste and maximizing resource efficiency.


At USGBC, we offer membership for organizations and individuals.

  • USGBC membership for organizations is a global platform for growing your business, improving your community and advancing the latest in innovative building practices. USGBC member organizations make an impact within their sphere of influence and advance the movement for a more sustainable built environment. Member organizations and employees receive exclusive access to resources, education and programs.
  • As an individual member of the USGBC community, you can connect with green building peers within your area, strengthen your leadership and management skills, access USGBC education and training resources and make an immediate and measurable difference in your community. Individual members experience the heart of our grassroots efforts to transform the built environment.


Throughout each year, we also host and organize over a hundred events around the world, bringing green business education and networking to you, wherever you located.

This year, we will have Greenbuilding Brazil from August 8–10, Greenbuild China from October 17–18, Greenbuild India from November 2–5 and Greenbuild Boston from November 8–10. We also have the Green Schools Conference and Expo coming up this month from March 21–22, and finally, we have a whole host of local, community events around the U.S. every month. Check our our events calendar for more local events.

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